The return of “Roman Piso”!

Cranks come, and cranks go.  If you’re around online long enough, you’re bound to see a few. 

The turnover is probably for the best, in a way.  The nutters with online longevity seem to get nastier and nastier over time.  It’s probably the brooding, I imagine: however stupid other people are, sitting and concentrating on the defects of others is liable to distort your point of view!  There will never be any shortage of folly in the world, that’s for sure.

Months ago, I was looking on my hard disk and found a directory “/piso”.  How that brought back memories!  There was a strange chap posting back in the day in usenet about how Jesus was really some member of the Roman family which used the cognomen “Piso”.  I found a thread from 1999 here, for instance, and by name here in 2002, and talking to me in the same year.  There was some association with a booklet by a Jewish polemicist calling himself Abelard Reuchlin, which I never got to the bottom of. 

The details of his theory were rather incoherent, and the reasoning as shaky as is normal.  But I remembered the gentleman in question — who used to post as “Roman Piso” — because he seemed a harmless soul, and posted about his obsession without malice.  He vanished from the web years ago, and I always wondered where he went.

Well today I know — for on the David Icke website, he has reappeared!   On Boxing Day he spake thusly:

Here is Proof, that Josephus’ Plutarchus Created Christianity.

Titus Flavius Josephus and Lucius Plutarchus are the same person, thus i nickname “Josephus Plutarchus”, in reality, his real name is “Arrius Piso”. …

Mmm.  He joined the site on Christmas Day, and managed a sterling 66 posts in the last 3 days.

I don’t know if anyone else remembers him, but if so, well, it’s nice to see him back again.

14 Responses to “The return of “Roman Piso”!”


  1. DIVVS·IVLIVS

    There was a review of Reuchlin’s booklet, which is now at the internet archive here: http://web.archive.org/web/20031002104004/http://members.shaw.ca/chatfunk/The+Arrius+Piso+as+author+of+the+New+Testament+theory+is+a+hoax.htm

    I’m not 100% sure, but as far as I know the person called “Roman Piso” is an author called John Duran who seems to have been extending Reuchlin’s conspiracy theory, in at least two books, as “Roman Piso” in The Synthesis of Christianity – or – The Real Reason for the War Between the Romans and the Jews. (How and Why Ancient Rulers Needed to Create a Universal Religion), and as John Duran in The Origin of Christianity), both apparently published in some form in 2000.

  2. Maureen

    The oldest Wright brother (older than Wilbur and Orville) was named Reuchlin. I don’t know why Bishop Wright named his eldest “Reuchlin”, but he did. Probably some Brethren church personality, or an old family name on one side or another.

  3. Roger Pearse

    I think that the name goes back to the reformation, but I don’t know its history.

  4. James Snapp, Jr.

    Wow; I can remember dealing with this stuff back in my Bible college days.

    Abelard was the avante-garde theologian who lived in the time of St. Bernard and was the teacher/soulmate/seducer of Heloise. Reuchlin was a Hebrew scholar; it was his copy of Revelation which was loaned to Erasmus, who arranged to have its text extracted as the basis for the text of Revelation in his printed Greek New Testament. (And because its text was not altogether legible, and because it was missing the last six verses, textual critics will never hear the end of how Erasmus created new readings here and there in Revelation, and resorted to retro-translating the last six verses from Latin into Greek.)

    Yours in Christ,

    James Snapp, Jr.

  5. Gideon nisbet

    I remember these guys! I had fun baiting them back in the day – bad me (I’ve mellowed since). A bunch of that old stuff’s still online:

    http://groups.google.com/group/alt.religion.apologetics/browse_thread/thread/a6e0172577ded643/a7bd0df757149827?pli=1

  6. Roger Pearse

    Well, trolling is bad whoever the victim is. But thanks for the link — yes, it’s certainly still accessible!

  7. Abibi Fawohodie

    Gaius Calpurnius Piso existed and his family…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaius_Calpurnius_Piso

    Christianity is a form of white supremacy, so I understand your disdain that people are researching this Jesus character. But the reality is that Christianity was created by men to control slaves in Europe. And Western Europeans use it to dominate the current day slaves African people.

  8. Roger Pearse

    Friend, I don’t know anything about you but I see that you have a problem here. The “Piso” hoax is one of the crudest falsehoods imaginable. Yes, there were a whole bunch of people named Calpurnius Piso. No, they did not invent Christianity.

    You claim that “Christianity is a form of white supremacy”, which is a weird statement. I infer from it that you are not white, but hate and envy white men. Well, that is your choice. I don’t mind. Although it would be better, surely, to emulate them? To be educated, successful, hard-working, self-denying and all the other traits of “the protestant work ethic” that made Northern Europe the rulers of the world? Any lazy and envious soul can whine about those he believes to be his betters. Those who want to better themselves don’t whine, they take notes and take action.

    But even this claim is not true. Christianity was, of course, founded by people who were not white men, and most of its adherents are not white men. In fact the decaying ruling class in the west is very hostile to Christianity.

    Those who founded Christianity were also poor men, not rich men. They were the “have nots”, the people who did not have much of a chance. Christ himself, remember, was nailed to a tree by the “haves”.

    Those who killed Christ already owned slaves. They controlled them very effectively using whips and chains. It was the rise of Christianity that brought an end to slavery. When the western powers gained control of Africa, they ended slavery there too. Do you not know, do you deny, that the Africans enslaved each other and sold each other (sometimes to the Moslems) before ever a white face was seen in Africa? Is it in Christian countries in Africa that slave-trading still goes on? It is not.

    “The white man” today dominates Africa because “the white man” (or rather, the nation states composed mainly of white people) dominates the world, and because African rulers are idle and corrupt. No society that weak can avoid being dominated by someone. I gather that places like Zambia are learning what the Chinese, the yellow man in your language, is like as an overseer, and not enjoying it much. No, Christianity is not how those who have power today work their will; it is an obstacle to it.

    Do you not know that those who have power in our day are immoral, vicious men, who hate the 10 Commandments, who hate God, honesty, marriage, virtue and goodness of every sort? If not, you need to learn. It is the Christians, alone, who resist their evil deeds.

    You may not know that Christianity in Africa came into being against the wishes of the colonial rulers, and exists today against the wishes of the rulers of the west. It is one of the few ways in which Africa has created its own identity.

    But be that as it may, never fill your mind with nonsense. The Piso hoax is rubbish. Nobody believes it. If you want a means to express race-hate towards others — and I don’t tell anyone how to think — then find something based on facts.

  9. Andrew D Harper

    Hey you have anymore evidence against the Piso theory? It seems far-fetched but is it even plausible?

  10. Roger Pearse

    I’m afraid that I have long forgotten the details of the theory – sorry. There are so many of these things in circulation.

    How do we find out what happened in ancient history? In general?

    Well, we gather all the evidence and see what it says. We get all the statements by ancient authors on the subject (say up to a couple of centuries afterwards, although sometimes even later writers have otherwise unknown data). If there is archaeology we want that too, of course.

    When we read through the data about early Christianity it tells us a simple, straightforward story of a man with a beard on a soapbox in Judaea who annoyed the authorities and got nailed to a lump of wood. His followers regrouped around a secondary leader and spread out across the world. Eventually they gained power.

    Nothing in this is remarkable. This is more or less the history of Marxism, you know? Human ideological movements develop like this.

    Nothing in this data tells us the Piso theory; nothing.

    To tell any other story requires two things; a willingness to ignore the data; and a willingness to hypothesise “what if …” and repeat it lots of times until the theory insensibly becomes treated as if it too were a fact. All the rubbish theories do this, from Von Daniken downwards.

    The best cure to the Piso theory is to read some other crank of the same kind. We quickly find the same bad methods used to “prove” some quite different story. Which tells us that, by the methods used here, any story can be told.

    But for real history we do not impose an idea on the data. We listen to it.

  11. Roger Pearse

    PS: hope that is helpful. There’s no limit to “plausible” crank theories, so long as one doesn’t start testing them against the entire database.

  12. Andrew D Harper

    Hmm, I can see that. Thank you for responding. I recently got interested in this theory and sadly it still has some devout followers. You try to have a religious debate and BAM, some guy comes in saying it was all made up by a man never mentioned in any historical text to date. Anyway I noticed your blog and I like it very much. I have some interest in history, especially ancient history, and this blog contains a lot of interesting stuff. Do you have any books to suggest on Ancient Roman culture by the way?

    Anyway, back to Piso. I’ve noticed many of these theories lack even the most basic sentiments of logical reasoning I’ve noticed.

    For instance, Let’s suppose an “Arrius Piso” (which according to the theory wrote several of the Gospels and all the works of Josephus, in addition to fighting wars and being involved in numerous other major Roman plots under alias’s no one in Rome, an Empire full of scholars and philosophers, ever discovered) Let’s suppose he did exist, and his family, and they did concoct an elaborate conspiracy decades in the making with many books (remember, there were noncanonical Gospels referencing Christ too)and even historical accounts made up to further this religion.

    How. on. Earth. did thousands of people all of a sudden believe a religion that had no evidence to support it but mentioned MANY contemporaries that no one had ever heard of? For instance Paul was claimed to be a notorious Jew. And yet no one ever heard of him and plenty of people still gave up their whole faith in the Jewish texts to follow the writing of a man they can’t verify? I mean he was said to have traveled Rome, Greece, you name it preaching and debating , getting arrested, and converting people. He would have left at least some impression.

    And if the plan was to pacify the Jews, why write the majority of the NT to the Gentiles? Why say there’s no distinction between the Jews and Gentiles and, in essence, abolish all that the Jews knew? Few Jews would be dumb enough to follow such a thing without a reason valid reason and verifiable disciples.

    And as for the things written to the Gentiles (Corinthians, Thessalonians, Acts), they are hardly things most of the Roman citizens would want to hear. I mean in cities like Corinth where pleasure was a huge focus and where there were many different philosophies, you think people would just love to accept something that said they were all immoral, hellbent, sinners who needed to turn away from their enjoyable lifestyles? That makes absolutely no sense in Roman, Jewish, or Modern terms.

  13. Andrew D Harper

    And the implication of this would not only be that the New Testament was a complete and total hoax, but that every single ancient source of information that came out of Rome would be completely unreliable. Supposedly Pliny the Younger, Tacitus, and others were all in on this conspiracy that, again, no one ever figured out until the late 1800s.

  14. Roger Pearse

    These are good points; but they do rely a little on speculation. :-)



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